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Romans 16:16 – A holy kiss

26-04-2022 - Posted by Hans

Greet one another with a holy kiss. Greeting you are all the ecclesias of Christ.

Dozens of names have already been mentioned to convey greetings to believers. Now Paul also lets it be known from whom these greetings come in general (“all the ecclesias of Christ”), mentioning seven more names in particular in verses 21-23.

In addition to the many greetings he sends by letter, Paul now also urges his readers to greet each other “in a holy kiss”. The incentive is not in the form; Paul does not write: greet each other with a kiss. No, he supposes that people greet each other with a kiss as usual, and urges his readers to do so “in a holy kiss.” This is not only opposed to the treacherous kiss of Judas, but also distinguishes it from the profane, everyday kiss.

With the kiss (Gr. philema) we express affection with the mouth. Depending on the context (culture, place and etiquette) it can have all kinds of meanings, but in general it is an intimate expression of affection. With the “holy kiss” (cf. 1Cor.16:20; 2Cor.13:12; 1Thes.5:26 and 1Pet.5:14!) we seal the love of God among ourselves. The “holy kiss” reminds us of God reconciling the world to Himself through Christ!

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